According to British newspaper The Guardian, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is the second best bookstore in the world.
It preserves the splendour and elegance of the former Gran Splendid theatre/cinema, which was designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol.
Located in the Recoleta neighbourhood, El Grand Spendid theatre opened in 1919 and immediately became a beacon of porteño culture, hosting ballet, opera, and the first "talkies" shown in Buenos Aires. The national Odeon record label - now owned by EMI - was based here, and singers such as Carlos Gardel recorded on the premises.
The venue even gave birth to its own radio station, LR4 Radio Splendid, which began transmitting from the building in 1923.
The venue was converted into a bookstore in the year 2000, beautifully preserving the original decoration, including the dome, which was painted with frescoes by Italian Nazareno Orlandi. The store stocks around 120,000 books and there is a bar on what was the stage area of the theatre, where you can drink a coffee while reading.
There are comfy chairs around the shop, making browsing for books here a real pleasure. The basement is dedicated to children's books, and the upper floor is used for exhibitions and displays.
Open: Monday - Thursday, 9am - 10pm; Fridays and Saturdays, 9.00am - midnight; Sundays, 12 noon - 10pm